Several economic, geopolitical, demographic and environmental factors drive world’s energy scenario; among them, the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and the consequent development of renewable energy sources, the global financial crisis, the increase in global population and urbanization, the increase of fossil fuels prices have had a particularly strong impact in recent years. Furthermore, exceptional events, such as the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, may occur to complicate World energy scenarios. The most recent reports on world energy markets, especially the WEO - World Energy Outlook, are characterized by the introduction of new prospects and scenarios, as a result of unpredictable events such as Fukushima accident or of emerging factors, such as the increasing share of unconventional resources in the future energy mix (shale gas and shale oil) and the importance of energy efficiency, proposing an "Efficient World Scenario". Disappointing signals about the development of renewables are also recorded. The paper focuses on the comparison among the major reports and statistical energy data, especially the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of the World Energy Outlook issued by IEA. Mid-term energy scenarios are presented and discussed, with particular emphasis on the increasing importance of energy efficiency, on the new prospects concerning nuclear power and on the role of unconventional fossil fuels.
Keywords: Energy scenarios, WEO, nuclear power, energy efficiency, nonconventional fossil fuels
Jel Code: Q4, Q41, Q47